China reported no new coronavirus deaths on Tuesday for the first time since the pandemic began, along with a decrease in new cases, Forbes.com reports.
China counted 32 new coronavirus infections on Monday, a drop from Sunday’s 39 new cases, according to the country’s National Health Commission. According to France 24, all of the 32 confirmed new cases involved travelers coming into China from overseas, signalling a new danger for the country.
Wuhan has only recorded two new coronavirus cases in the past two weeks, according to Reuters.
The news comes the day before Wuhan’s lockdown is scheduled to be lifted, after about a week of gradual rollbacks on restrictions—Wuhan’s 11 million residents will be able to leave the city for the first time since it was locked down in late January if they are in good health and have a permit, and the city’s trains, flights, highways and buses will resume operations.
However, Bloomberg reported last week that U.S. intelligence agencies have warned that Beijing’s official coronavirus tallies should not be trusted.
As of Tuesday, there were 1.3 million confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide, with more than 760,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Of those, nearly 83,000 cases were in China, with 3,335 deaths. However, experts have expressed skepticism on China’s self-reported coronavirus statistics, and have raised concerns about whether they are to be trusted after Chinese authorities reportedly suppressed news of the outbreak when the virus first began to spread in Wuhan. According to The New York Times, Beijing itself may not know the true extent of the pandemic in China, because midlevel officials in Wuhan and other areas have lied about infection rates, testing and death counts out of fear of punishment, American intelligence sources have claimed.
With local coronavirus infections nearly eradicated according to the country’s reports, China will have to crackdown on imported cases if it wants to stamp out the virus for good, as the vast majority of new infections are coming from overseas. China is no longer letting foreigners through its borders, and according to France 24, only about 3,000 international flights are operating per day in April, down from tens of thousands. But most new virus cases have come in the form of Chinese citizens returning to the country from abroad. Alarms have also been raised in China about asymptomatic infections, who may not realize they have coronavirus but are capable of spreading it to others.